MPI for Heart and Lung Research
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Project leaders: Dr. Julián Albárran Juárez, Dr. Lei Wang, Dr. Akiko Nakayama, Dr. Ramesh Chennupati, Dr. Sheng-Peng Wang, Dr. Kerstin Troidl, Dr. András Iring, Dr. Elena Dyukova, Dr. Young-June Jin

PhD Students: Rui Li, Alan LeMercier, Guozheng Liang, Sabrina Reinl

Technical Assistants: Ulrike Schlapp, Claudia Ullmann

Figure "Atherosclerosis development"

Atherosclerosis de­velops in areas of disturbed flow, which induces inflammatory signaling in endothelial cells. In contrast, laminar flow promotes athero­protective signaling.

Fluid shear stress exerted by the flowing blood is crucial for the development of blood vessels but is also one of the major regulators of the vascular tone by inducing nitric oxide (NO) formation in endothelial cells, which relaxes vascular smooth muscle cells. Blood flow is also a key factor in the development of atherosclerosis, which mainly occurs in regions of arteries exposed to disturbances in fluid flow. Some of the endothelial mechanosensing and mechanotransduction mechanisms activated by laminar or disturbed flow to promote atheroprotective or atherogenic signaling have recently been identified. Understanding these fundamental processes provides new insights into the pathophysiology of cardiovascular diseases such as arterial hypertension and atherosclerosis.

Based on the analysis of basic signaling processes mediated by heterotrimeric G-proteins in vascular cells (Wirth et al., 2008; Korhonen et al., 2009, Althoff et al., 2012), we have recently identified some of the upstream mechanosensing and mechanosignaling mechanisms in endothelial cells, which involve mechanosensitive cation channels and G-protein-coupled receptors (Wang et al., 2015; Wang et al., 2016). Future work will aim at the identification of novel mechanosensitive and mechanotransducing processes in endothelial cells and other vascular cells which are differentially involved in anti-inflammatory (atheroprotective) and pro-inflammatory (atherogenic) signaling induced by laminar and disturbed flow, respectively. The ultimate goal is to better understand how endothelial dysfunction contributes to vascular diseases in order to identify new approaches to prevent cardiovascular disorders at an earlier stage as it is currently possible.


Wang, SP, Chennupati R, Iring A, Kaur H, Wettschureck N, Offermanns S. (2016) Endothelial Piezo1 controls blood pressure by mediating flow-induced ATP release. J. Clin. Invest. 126: 4527-4536

Wang S, Iring A, Strilic B, Albarrán Juárez J, Kaur H, Troidl K, Tonack S, Burbiel JC, Müller CE, Fleming I, Lundberg JO, Wettschureck N, Offermanns S (2015). P2Y2 and Gq/G11 control blood pressure by mediating endothelial mechanotransduction. J. Clin. Invest. 125: 3077-3086

Althoff TF, Albarrán Juárez J, Troidl K, Tang C, Wang S, Wirth A, Takefuji M, Wettschureck N, Offermanns S (2012). Procontractile G-protein-mediated signaling pathways antagonistically regulate smooth muscle differentiation in vascular remodeling. J. Exp. Med. 209; 2277-90

Korhonen H, Fisslthaler B, Moers A, Wirth A, Habermehl D, Wieland T, Schütz G, Wettschureck N, Fleming I, Offermanns S (2009). Anaphylactic shock depends on endothelial Gq/G11. J Exp Med. 206; 411-420

Wirth A, Benyó Z, Lukasova M, Leutgeb B, Wettschureck N, Gorbey S, Őrsy P, Horváth B, Maser-Gluth C, Greiner E, Lemmer B, Schütz G, Gutkind S, Offermanns S (2008). G12/G13-LARG-mediated signalling in vascular smooth muscle is required for salt-induced hypertension. Nat Med. 14: 64-68